Edward Smithies - Backroom Boys - Orion Publishing Group

Backroom Boys

Personal Stories of Britain's Air War 1939-45

By Edward Smithies

  • Paperback
  • £8.99

Nostalgic and moving stories from the RAF staff who kept Britain's aircraft flying and fighting during the Second World War.

Nostalgic and moving stories from the RAF staff who kept Britain's aircraft flying and fighting during the Second World War.

When we remember the Second World War in the air, we think of fighter pilots and bomber crews.
But what was it like for the men and women working as ground crew and in the aircraft factories who also played a crucial role in defeating Hitler? What was it like making history? What sense did these individuals have of what they were doing, either at the time or later? Did they feel they were caught up in the tide of great events? Or were they simply doing their demanding and often dangerous duty?

Biographical Notes

Edward Smithies spent his earliest years surrounded by the aircraft parts, models of fuselages and wings and blueprints that his father brought home from the aircraft factory were he worked. He lived in London for many years and taught history. He also worked on an oral history of the war at sea.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780304359271
  • Publication date: 10 Jan 2002
  • Page count: 336
  • Imprint: W&N
W&N

Chanel's Riviera

Anne de Courcy
Authors:
Anne de Courcy
W&N

Written in History

Simon Sebag Montefiore
Authors:
Simon Sebag Montefiore
Orion

Wedding Bells for Nurse Connie

Jean Fullerton
Authors:
Jean Fullerton

East End saga queen Jean Fullerton returns with a delightful new novel in the Nurse Connie seriesIt's 1948 and the nurses of the East End of London are making the most of life post-war. For Connie in particular, things are looking rosy as she looks forward to planning a future with her sweetheart, Malcolm. But, as many a young bride-to-be has proved, the course of true love never did run smooth and Connie finds herself having to grapple with interfering mothers and Malcolm's reluctance to set the date. But while there are many obstacles to overcome before walking down the aisle, at least Connie can relax in the knowledge that she'll soon be married to the man of her dreams, can't she? Life at work isn't all smooth sailing either. The newly-formed NHS is keeping the nurses of Fry House extremely busy and as ever in the life of a nurse heartbreak lurks at every turn. But there are some new faces to keep things interesting. And one in particular might be the answer to all of Connie's problems...

W&N

The Small Back Room

Nigel Balchin
Authors:
Nigel Balchin
W&N

Hubris

Alistair Horne
Authors:
Alistair Horne

Alistair Horne has been a close observer of war and history for more than fifty years. In this wise and masterly work, he revisits six battles that changed the course of the twentieth century and reveals the one trait that links them all: hubris. From the Battle of Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 to Hitler's 1941 bid to capture Moscow, and from the disastrous American advance in Korea to the French surrender at Dien Bien Phu, Horne shows how each of these battles was won or lost due to excessive hubris on one side or the other.A dramatic, colourful and stylishly written history, HUBRIS is an essential reflection on war from a master of his field.

W&N

Alanbrooke War Diaries 1939-1945

Lord Alanbrooke
Authors:
Lord Alanbrooke
W&N

The Second World War: Closing The Ring

Winston S. Churchill
Authors:
Winston S. Churchill
The Murder Room

Midnight Plus One

Gavin Lyall
Authors:
Gavin Lyall
W&N

Dare To Be Free

W.B. 'Sandy' Thomas
Authors:
W.B. 'Sandy' Thomas

One of the greatest escape stories of World War Two.When the Germans invaded Crete in 1941, Sandy Thomas was shipped to the Greek mainland as one of their prisoners. Despite being severely wounded in the leg he attempted several escapes, including being carried out of his POW camp in a coffin. He finally succeeded in a spectacular escape, and made his way across Greece to Mount Athos, a rocky peninsula populated solely by monks. Here he evaded capture for over a year, before finally stealing a boat and navigating his way through winter seas to freedom in Turkey. This, his story, is one of the great escape narratives of the Second World War.

W&N

Empire of the Deep

Ben Wilson
Authors:
Ben Wilson

The bestselling complete history of the British Navy - our national story through a different prism.The story of our navy is nothing less than the story of Britain, our culture and our empire. Much more than a parade of admirals and their battles, this is the story of how an insignificant island nation conquered the world's oceans to become its greatest trading empire. Yet, as Ben Wilson shows, there was nothing inevitable about this rise to maritime domination, nor was it ever an easy path. EMPIRE OF THE DEEP: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BRITISH NAVY also reveals how our naval history has shaped us in more subtle and surprising ways - our language, culture, politics and national character all owe a great debt to this conquest of the seas. This is a gripping, fresh take on our national story.

Orion

Please, Nurse!

Joan Lock
Authors:
Joan Lock

Joan Lock's warm and nostalgic account of her three years of training as a young student nurse in the early 1950s. Perfect for fans of CALL THE MIDWIFE.When Joan Lock began her formal training as a young nurse in the 1950s, she was unprepared for the strict discipline and long hours which were to follow and quickly realised she was no Florence Nightingale. Her honest and humorous account of the next three years reveals her most intimate experiences of being a nurse: from dealing with temperamental surgeons to fighting off flirtatious patients. Labelled a trouble-maker, Joan and her friends tested their strict Sisters' patience as they climbed through windows, slept through lectures and broke every thermometer that passed through their hands. But through it all, Joan found herself touched by the people she met and their heart-warming stories.

W&N

Ideas

Peter Watson
Authors:
Peter Watson
Orion

The Children's Nurse

Susan Macqueen
Authors:
Susan Macqueen

The memoir of a Great Ormond Street nurse.This is the inspirational story of life as a nurse during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, most of which was spent at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. Susan Macqueen was 12 years old when she accompanied her mum to see her friend Ms Fairweather, the matron at the local nursing home and from that day on she knew she wanted to be a nurse. A few years later, despite being told that her grades weren't good enough and having left school with only two O-Levels, Susan was accepted on the three-year nurses training course at Addenbooke's hospital in Cambridge. It wasn't long before Susan knew she wanted to work with children and set her sights on a job at Great Ormond Street. Thirty-five years later, on her third attempt, Susan has finally retired from that iconic hospital and is enjoying a more leisurely pace of life.Hope, despair, laughter and tears, Susan's stories move the reader through the incredible stories that she was faced with on an every day basis.

W&N

Harold Macmillan

Charles Williams
Authors:
Charles Williams
W&N

Dead Reckoning

Jeff Dawson
Authors:
Jeff Dawson
Orion

All Fired Up

Malcolm Castle
Authors:
Malcolm Castle
W&N

The War Magician

David Fisher
Authors:
David Fisher

The story of the greatest illusionist of modern times and the man who conjured victory in the desert - to be made into a film starring Tom CruiseJasper Maskelyne was a world famous magician and illusionist in the 1930s. When war broke out, he volunteered his services to the British Army and was sent to Egypt where the desert war had just begun. He used his skills to save the vital port of Alexandria from German bombers and to 'hide' the Suez Canal from them. He invented all sorts of camouflage methods to make trucks look like tanks and vice versa. On Malta he developed 'the world's first portable holes': fake bomb craters used to fool the Germans into thinking they had hit their targets. His war culminated in the brilliant deception plan that won the Battle of El Alamein: the creation of an entire dummy army in the middle of the desert.

W&N

Scream of Eagles

Robert K Wilcox
Authors:
Robert K Wilcox

The real Top Gun - the dramatic account of the US Navy's fighter pilots and how they took back the skies over VietnamIn the darkest days of the Vietnam War, the US Navy's kill ratio had fallen to 2:1 - a deadly decline in pilot combat effectiveness. To improve the odds, a corps of hardened fighter pilots founded the Fighter Weapons School, a.k.a. Top Gun. Utilising actual enemy fighter planes in brutally realistic dogfights, the Top Gun instructors dueled with their students and each other to achieve a lethal new level of fighting expertise. The training paid off and the Top Gunners dominated the skies over Vietnam.This gripping account takes you inside the cockpit for an adventure more explosive than any fiction, in the dramatic true story of the legendary military school that has created the most dangerous fighter pilots the world had ever seen.

W&N

Enigma

Hugh Sebag-Montefiore
Authors:
Hugh Sebag-Montefiore

The complete story of how the German Enigma codes were broken. Perfect for fans of THE IMITATION GAME, the new film on Alan Turing's Enigma code, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.Breaking the German Enigma codes was not only about brilliant mathematicians and professors at Bletchley Park. There is another aspect of the story which it is only now possible to tell. It takes in the exploits of spies, naval officers and ordinary British seamen who risked, and in some cases lost, their lives snatching the vital Enigma codebooks from under the noses of Nazi officials and from sinking German ships and submarines. This book tells the whole Enigma story: its original invention and use by German forces and how it was the Poles who first cracked - and passed on to the British - the key to the German airforce Enigma. The more complicated German Navy Enigma appeared to them to be unbreakable.

W&N

The Road To Berlin

John Erickson
Authors:
John Erickson

A compelling account of the Red Army's epic struggle to drive the Germans out of Russia and back to Berlin.Beginning with the destruction of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad, THE ROAD TO BERLIN is the story of how the Red Army drove the Germans from its territory, and finally invaded the Reich. Using an enormous range of primary sources - Soviet, German and Eastern European - John Erickson describes fighting and hardship on a scale almost unimaginable in the West. He provides a detailed narrative of all the battles on all the fronts, and also of the Soviet system of war which achieved, under maximum stress, near impossible feats in the field and in the factories. The book also tells of the diplomatic moves and counter-moves, including the all-important conferences at Tehran and Yalta. Comprehensive, compelling, and immensely readable, it is an indispensable book for any student of the Second World War.